Destiny 2: Lightfall’s announcement live stream featured an epic cinematic trailer meshed with gameplay showcasing new subclasses, mechanics and areas. But beyond the standard fare, Bungie’s most recent event offered an unexpected promise.
This promise, which the Destiny community has been campaigning for over the last two years, puts an end to future content vaulting for good. The content vault has taken everything that was playable from 2017 to 2018 of Destiny’s live period and removed it from the game. Not only was this practice an egregious offense to art preservation, but it robbed players of a product they paid for merely three years after launch.
Thankfully, that will not be the case anymore as Bungie promises to “no longer sunset expansions.” But even then, much of Destiny 2’s past is still vaulted and Bungie has not commented on whether we’ll see it return.
The sins of the vault
Imagine purchasing God of War (2018) on launch day, but sometime in 2021, it’s removed from your library with very little warning and you can never play it again. That sounds absurd, right? Well, that’s the easiest way to describe Destiny 2’s content vault. Just three years after Destiny 2 launched in 2017, the base game and its two DLC were made inaccessible. The community didn’t take lightly to this, with many (including myself) refusing to return to Destiny until the issue gets resolved. Things continued to get worse earlier this year when Destiny 2’s first expansion, Forsaken, had its campaign gutted.
Thankfully, things are changing… at least somewhat. During the Destiny 2 2022 Showcase, we were told that “Destiny 2 is not going anywhere, and neither are your expansions.“ Hey, that’s great news! But what about everything that’s been taken out? How will that be accounted for?
There’s a massive gap of content missing in the Destiny franchise. This is a series that has been live for eight years now and what was playable between 2014 to 2016 is available in the original Destiny and anything modern from 2019 to 2022 is playable in Destiny 2. The middle portion of this series, which makes up everything from 2017 to 2018, is almost entirely gone.
During the livestream, Bungie claims: “We want this story, since we first communed with the darkness on the moon, to be fully playable start to finish.” But until everything is playable, this means nothing. I missed Forsaken in 2018, and I never got to go through 2017’s Leviathan raid. Until I can do these things, I have no plans to jump back into Destiny 2.
I’m a serial binger and have always adored playing franchises from start to finish. When I get invested in a certain genre or series of games, I push through every title in chronological order. It doesn’t matter what series; even if the games are wildly disconnected, I refuse to play the new one until I catch up. Assassin’s Creed is a franchise I’ve been meaning to binge for a good while, and even if a new one looks cool, I won’t play it until I have played my way through the whole series.
Some suggest that Destiny’s situation is not comparable to single-player games because it is an MMO, but no other MMO does this. World of Warcraft’s base game and every expansion since 2004 are still playable in the 2022 version of the game. Mechanics, character models, and a couple of other things have changed of course, but at the end of the day, it’s all still there. The only exception to this is when 2010’s Cataclysm drastically changed Azeroth. But even in this case, Blizzard merely changed the content, they did not remove it.
I wouldn’t play Halo 2 without playing Halo: Combat Evolved first. That’s just how my brain works, and it’s one of my favorite ways to engage with the medium. In Destiny’s case, I cannot commit to a series binge, and this has never happened to me with any other game series. I’ve never been trapped thinking about how I’d love to go through a franchise yet cannot because of a lack of availability.
Destiny 2’s Curse of Osiris and Warmind DLC, along with the Forsaken expansion’s campaign, are nowhere to be found. They’re not available, even to the people who purchased them. It’s a frustrating conundrum and I can’t help but wonder how Bungie has managed to fall so far from grace.
The falling of the greats
There was a period of time when Bungie was once hailed by many as the best first-person shooter developer in the industry. From Halo: Combat Evolved in 2001 to Halo: Reach in 2010, the company was on top and had a huge part to play in the success that Xbox saw throughout the 360 era.
Eventually, the company decided to move away from Halo and begin developing Destiny, its MMO first-person shooter that was set to change gaming as we knew it. The hype surrounding Bungie’s first non-Halo project in over a decade was thunderous, and people were expecting it to blow them away.
But when Destiny launched in 2014, it received lukewarm reception. And ever since, Bungie’s reputation has been nowhere near as positive. Some still stand by the Destiny franchise and claim it’s one of the greatest game series ever made, but many will dispute that.There’s clearly a divide in the community when it comes to the quality of Bungie’s work.
Tons of little controversies have followed Destiny’s history ever since its launch, with one of the most notable being the “promise” that made people believe this game would last for ten years. Although that was never actually promised, fans were still pretty upset when Destiny 2 was revealed, giving them no choice but to buy into a new experience.
But the most prevalent controversy following Destiny was its content vault. If Bungie wants to make amends with a burned community, we need to see a full commitment towards restoring what was lost. Destiny 2, Forsaken, Warmind, and Curse of Osiris should be fully playable from start to finish, including their strikes and raids.
To take things a step further, I’d love it if there was a single package that had everything Destiny included. Most MMOs function this way; it would be great to just open Destiny on Steam and have access to everything, from eight years ago to now, in one place. While this may be a little difficult to accomplish, I can certainly dream.
Halo 3 is my favorite first-person shooter ever, but with Bungie’s approach to Destiny 2, I’ve lost trust in the company. Until the aforementioned content is restored, I have no reason to buy into Destiny’s future or whatever the company makes next.
We know Bungie is willing to strip entire games-worth of content from players just a few years after they buy that content, so what’s to say they won’t do it again.